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ANHRI condemns court decision to fine four journalists

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 11 October 2011 - ANHRI condemns the sentence issued by the Supreme Criminal Court, fining Mansour Al-Jamry, editor-in-chief of the Bahraini newspaper "Al-Wasat," and three of his colleagues 1000 Bahraini Dinars (approx. $US2650) for "publishing news that defamed the image of Bahrain abroad" during last February's protests.

The court convicted the newspaper and fined Mansoor Al-Jamri and Walid Nuwayhid, the former editors-in-chief, Aqeel Mirza, the former chief of the localities department, and Ali Al-Sharifi, a journalist.

It is worth noting that the Bahraini authorities had shut down the newspaper last April, and forced its editors to resign. "Al-Wasat" resumed work again under ongoing restrictions by the authorities and security services.

The restrictions imposed on "Al-Wasat" and its journalist come as a part of the security campaign launched by the authorities against the opposition and human rights and Internet activists in Bahrain, following the intervention of the troops of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to repress the peaceful protests in the country. The court issued a bulk of sentences against journalists and activists, the last case being the endorsement of the sentences issued against 21 Bahraini activists, among whom are Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace and Ali Abdul Imam, bloggers, and Abdul-Hady Al-Khawaja, rights activist, by the Appeal Court. Some of the sentences ranged up to life imprisonment.

"It is such a shame the Bahraini government continues to use the policing approach and its repressive policy against those who oppose it, despite its promise to conduct a comprehensive national dialogue with the opposition, and to reform the political and economic state of the country. However, after several months of suppression and control of the protests with the support of the Saudi military and the GCC troops, the government proves that it has no alternative to the policing solutions and that its call for a national dialogue was not serious. The Bahraini government started the 'national dialogue' by a security campaign in which it expelled its opponents, detained some others and tortured them, even killing an imprisoned blogger. Other activists were subjected to unfair trials and were handed lengthy prison sentences," said ANHRI.

"The silence of the Arab and international community on the unfolding events in Bahrain amounts to collusion. The ongoing, shameful negligence of the crimes of this regime has become a crime against anyone calling for freedom," added ANHRI.
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